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re: Wouldn't amend also distort commit history and mess up collaborators' repository?
 

Yeah amend messes the recent commit and creates a new one so we have a new sha-1 for that commit. if that recent commit was pushed to remote repo and other users checked it out and used it. I had the instinct that yes and that it's "reusing" git reset for amend but for safety I checked the git documentation about what it says about it and here is what is has to say about it:

git amend is a rough equivalent for:

$ git reset --soft HEAD^
$ ... do something else to come up with the right tree ...
$ git commit -c ORIG_HEAD

but can be used to amend a merge commit.

You should understand the implications of rewriting history if you amend a commit that has already been published. (See the "RECOVERING FROM UPSTREAM REBASE" section in git-rebase[1].)

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